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Nestled in a protected cove between Cape Raoul and Cape Pillar on Tasmania’s South East coast is the historic town of Port Arthur. The town was established in 1830 first as a timber station and later as a penal colony to house more than a thousand of Tasmania’s most notorious convicts. Today the Port Arthur Historic site is one of Australia’s greatest tourist attractions with over 30 ruins and ancient buildings to explore set in a 40-hectare site. The town itself offers luxury accommodation and is a great base from which to explore the surrounding cliffs, caves and beaches.
More of Australia’s dark prison convict history can be uncovered 20 kilometres north-west of Port Arthur at the World Heritage-listed Coal Mines Historic Site. Here, repeat offenders worked underground in appalling conditions as punishment for their crimes. The area’s dark history contrasts with the scenic beauty and there are many trails to explore the surrounding area.